BACKGROUND: Various techniques are used to correct prominent ears. The authors describe their experience with four different otoplasty techniques in 565 patients with congenital deformities of the ears (1060 ears) that were performed in their hospital during an 11-year period (2002 to 2012).
METHODS: The authors divided the techniques into two groups: group I, cartilage-sparing techniques (i.e., IA, Mustardé; and IB, Furnas); and group II, cartilage-cutting techniques (i.e., IIA, Chongchet; and IIB, concha shell reduction). The authors compared early and late and minor and major complications, recurrence rates, and revision surgery. Furthermore, aesthetic outcome was scored by three different groups (consultant plastic surgeons, plastic surgery residents, and laymen) on a visual analogue scale using a blinded random selection of preoperative and postoperative photographs.
RESULTS: The percentage of complications without the need for reoperation was 20 percent and 21 percent in the cartilage-sparing and cartilage-cutting groups, respectively (p = 0.44). In 6 percent of all cases, a reoperation of the otoplasty was required (7 percent and 6 percent in the cartilage-sparing and cartilage-cutting groups, respectively). Aesthetic postoperative results showed that the cartilage-cutting group scored significantly lower on postoperative shape (p = 0.04), result (p = 0.03), and satisfaction (p = 0.04) compared with the cartilage-sparing group.
CONCLUSIONS: The study shows that patients who have undergone operations with cartilage-sparing or cartilage-cutting techniques have a similar rate of complications and need for reoperation. However, the cartilage-sparing techniques have a better aesthetic outcome, as judged by the different groups.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, III.